U.S. and Korean Children's Comprehension of Fraction Names: A Reexamination of Cross–National Differences



Two experiments tested the claim that the transparency of Korean fraction names promotes fraction concepts (Miura, Okamoto, Vlahovic–Stetic, Kim, & Han, 1999). In Experiment 1, U.S. and Korean first and second graders made similar errors on a fraction–identification task, by treating fractions as whole numbers. Contrary to previous findings, Korean children performed at chance when a whole–number representation was included. Nonetheless, Korean children outperformed their U.S. peers overall. In Experiment 2, U.S. children's performance improved when fraction names were used that explicitly referred to part–whole relations like Korean fraction names. U.S. children's scores actually exceeded those of Korean children. Thus, although the differences in fraction names may influence children's performance, this may not account for the reported cross–national differences.